Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works Ep. 6: Heed Shirou’s advice

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It’s not that I don’t agree with you, Shirou, but you have to admit… actions speak louder than words. So color me surprised when this episode showed me so many wonderful truths about the story.

First things first, Archer and Shirou have a conversation. Well, that’s alright. I don’t believe these two have ever had a heart-to-heart before. Archer tells our hero that he doesn’t consider the latter to be a mage. For him, it’s not just about the amount of mana you have inside you. It’s the mindset that matters! Yes! You have to be cold-blooded. You have to achieve your goals at all costs! Then, he tells Shirou that Heroic Spirits are nothing more than tools. They have no free will. They are summoned to fight in this Holy Grail War, then discarded when it is all said and done. Finally, Archer tells Shirou that he has no wish left unfulfilled. Mmm, I’m glad we had this talk. Don’t think I’m being sarcastic, though! I’m not! With all these angles of the conversation, how could I be bored?

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When Shirou returns home, his teacher tells him that they found Ayako. The girl looks somewhat shaken up, but Shirou’s told that she’ll be okay. I’m glad to hear that! Shirou then tells Sakura that it’s dangerous out there, so she should stay here for the time being.

Afterwards, Shirou and Saber have a conversation. He tells her about the truce between him and Rin. Saber then tells him that their truce will be dissolved when they discover the identity of the third Master at the school. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

The next day at school, Shinji, still salty over the rumors that said he had done something to Ayako, decides to spread some rumors of his own. So he tells Shirou that Ayako was found in a back alley with her uniform in tatters. Oh my~ But Shirou better not too angry for his friend. Shinji tells our hero that he’ll regret throwing around false accusations. I believe it. I’ve been told that Shinji comes from a well-known family.

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Later, Shirou and Rin spend some time disabling some of the sigils hidden around the school. Whoa, nobody told me about this! But Rin does tell us that they’ve only managed to weaken the Bounded Field. And while they were disabling those sigils, our heroes share a fascinating conversation on why Rin didn’t initially see Shirou as a mage. After they are all said and done, Rin tells our hero to hurry on home. After all, it isn’t safe to say out after dark. But don’t get the wrong idea! They have an alliance after all, so Rin tells Shirou it would be very bad for her if he died.

Just as Shirou was about to leave campus, Shinji shows up once more to tell our hero a few things. First, the Bounded Field belongs to him. Shinji tells us it’s his insurance policy, but I’m not so sure about that. Anyway, he pretty much admits to being Rider’s Master despite the fact that he has no mana. That’s probably why Rider has to go around, draining people of their life force. Shinji and Shirou are thus very similar. They’re both romantically linked to Rin, but the girl only likes our wholesome hero. They both have no mana to give to their Servants, but our wholesome hero lets Saber stay at home and rest up. Rider, on the other hand, has the unfortunate task of hunting for her own juice, if you will. And oh yeah, Sakura plays some sort of role in both guys’ lives. So to put it another way, Shinji and Shirou are almost like foils. Man, I only wish the anime would tell me this, so I don’t get confused. Am I supposed to compare and contrast them or what? Anyway, he proposes an alliance between him and Shirou. But y’know, you’re not going to have any luck recruiting the wholesome hero when you pretty much implied earlier that his friend, i.e. Ayako, is a whore. And again, the myriad angles really kept this conversation fresh and captivating:

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Later that night, Shirou tries to hone his Tracing powers, but Saber walks in on him. He thus tells her about his powers. He wants to show her as well, but Saber realizes his concentration is lacking. So she leaves him alone for now. What a shame.

With about five minutes left in the episode, Caster makes her move and kidnaps Shirou. With him tied up by thin strands of strings, our new villain first tells our hero what she intends to do: she is going to take his Command Seals and give them to her Master. In the process, she tells him how weak he is — weakest of all the Masters, in fact. She tells him she won’t kill him though. After all, she also tells him how she’s perfected her technique; she now knows how to collect just the right amount… of something. I don’t know what that something is, but I’m sure the anime will tell me eventually. Shirou asks if Caster was responsible for the recent spat of coma cases. She tells him that she is.

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Saber tries to rescue Shirou, but she can only enter through the front gate, which is guarded by Assassin. Why can’t she enter through any other way? She tells us it’s due to a Bounded Field that repels Heroic Spirits. Assassin then tells Saber his name, but he doesn’t want her to tell him her name. One of the rules that the anime has told us, however, is that it’s dangerous for Servants to reveal their true identity to others. So Assassin is probably full of shit. He told us false information!

But back to Shirou for just a second, he’s about to lose his Command Seals, but arrows come raining down from the sky and save our wholesome hero. But like his Master, Archer is so tsundere. He tells Shirou he just happened to be nearby, and he’s surprised to find that Shirou isn’t dead. Archer then tells Shirou to stay put, because he’s about to battle Caster… aaaaand end episode. Boy, that was a really good one, you guys! This episode showed us so many great conversations!

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17 thoughts on “Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works Ep. 6: Heed Shirou’s advice

  1. The Real Sugoi Sugoi

    Heh, I knew from the very moment I saw that scene that you were going to make great emphasis on it in your episode review. And, boy, you didn’t disappoint! It’s so exploitable!

    Anyway, I don’t really have much to say about the latest episode of Talking Heads: The Anime, except that its existence has been the catalyst for godawful religious fanatics/devotees of the original visual novel to come out of the woodwork and defend this adaptation whenever a review comes out that has even the slightest whiff of criticism.

    Reading through their conversations on the blogosphere, you would think that this anime adaptation was like a work of high-culture storytelling on the same cinematic caliber as Eisenstein or Cocteau.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      The sad thing is, people think I don’t want there to be any conversations. It’s always all or nothing for the fervent Fate/stay night defenders. No one seems to grasp the concept that perhaps an entire episode full of one conversation after the other isn’t ideal.

      Reply
  2. Slinky

    Indeed. All anime should have no conversations at all. If information needs to be conveyed from one character to another they can mime it or draw a picture. It gives the writers a chance to SHOW off the characters’ artistic talents.

    Reply
  3. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    Hahaha! Very nice, mate. I mean it’s good that they decided to take up dynamic angles instead of, you know, circles…
    But the dialogue runs on for too long and really should be conveyed better visually. It’s also a trap of the writer to have everything EVERYTHING explained or extolled by the characters verbally instead of allowing the audience to infer and discover on their own. It shows a lack of confidence in both the audience and the writer him/herself, though predominantly in the author since it’s likely that they are afraid they’re incapable of conveying certain themes and information any other way, and without spelling it out the audience won’t pick up on them.
    _That’s one of the difficult aspects of writing a narrative. How much do I show? How much do I leave for the reader to pick up on their own? How and when should I convey certain themes?
    It’s stuff they teach as early as Eng101, sure, but you never get a proper feel for it until you’ve practiced. Only then do you get a healthy rhythm and develop your own style of writing.

    Sadly, this story was during Nasu’s (the author’s) earlier “style” of showing almost everything via dialogue. He did get better though, as Fate/EXTRA shows. Shame that nostalgia brought THIS story to the screen instead.

    Anyway: FINALLY! After all that long, boring (excluding fights) viewing, we’ve finally reached the first of many blunders the story has for us on its mostly downhill ride…next episode.

    I want to briefly remind you, E Minor, that Archer is about to face off against Caster, a mage servant who has not only been *gaining strength* by stealing people’s life forces, but is clearly very cunning and able to erect barriers like crazy. The VN explained that mage-type servants also have magical abilities that trump even the strongest magi.
    _Point is, Caster is easily the most credible threat to the cast. …Just keep that very obvious description in mind for next time.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      You don’t have to constantly remind me of the characters’ powers. If I don’t want to play the visual novel, I also don’t really want any outside source of information to impact how I view the story.

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    I’m not going to watch this, not until gilgamesh comes out for real. After he comes out I’ll take any boring conversation the anime will throw my way.

    Reply

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